Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
The Doctor (Peter Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding), Turlough (Mark Strickson) & Kamelion (Jon Culshaw) land on a prison ship that is soon crashing. Surviving the crash they find that the prisoner the ship was transporting can turn himself to mist and may have survived the crash. Things get worse when Kamelion runs into some familiar problems.Ok, so Big Finish has covered all the “well there is a gap that needs filling in, in the Doctors timeline” stories. They have done “what if we set a story here that fits neatly. They’ve even gone into “bet you didn’t think we’d do a story here”. Now it’s more like “how much do you dare us to try and reclaim Kamelion?” In a way only Big Finish could do.
They start off in a very logical place of Tegan, who is already apt to be a doubter, being skeptical about Kamelion who has only recently been a puppet of the Master. The Doctor of course mounting the defence as the 5th Doctor is of course the diplomat of space time. We then go through some really interesting twists and turns that make the listener question where they might be going with this hereto fairly poorly explored character.
Jon Culshaw taking over the reigns of the shape shifting android, from the sadly no longer with us Gerald Flood, gives a take on the voice that gives some elements of the original, but does sound different. It is done nicely enough to call to mind the original and in the extras on the play Culshaw reveals he had purposefully removed some elements that were more suited to “The Kings Demons”, the original Kamelion story. This level of attention to detail plays well and shows the care put into the part by Culshaw. The writing of the character by Cavan Scott also takes necessary licence to expand him into a new story. A different take, but in keeping all the same.
As for the rest of the story… the idea of an enemy that can exist as mist and take over people makes it very formidable. I was concerned at times this was in danger too much of treading on familiar ground with Kamelion being taken over. However when it came close a twist was added and the extra personality injected into him helps us care in a way that most involved in Kamelion admitted was missing in how it was realised at the time of the TV show despite their best intentions.
The characterisations of the 5th Doctor’s Tardis crew are spot on. Mostly a really good story for Davison and Fielding, but Strickson as Turlough is entertaining and interesting as always too. The guest cast is well chosen and written for. The idea of a Hippo based race is dealt with in a way that adds character without getting silly; as could be a risk. A credit to the actors and writer, as well as director Ken Bentley.
All in all it’s really nice to explore a slightly different Tardis crew and with two more stories heading our way with Kamelion in, it’s going to be good getting to see what this character can do without the restraints of an ever malfunctioning robot (in the real world as opposed to in the stories) to halt production and cause rewrites. 8/10.
Buy it now on CD or download here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/devil-in-the-mist-1277